Hosed happiness

dog and hose

For those of you who aren’t up to date on the cult, er, trends of hyped-up water bottles, here is a little quiz.

A Stanley cup is one of two things:

1. A championship hockey tournament played each year by qualifying teams from the National Hockey League.

2. A reusable metal water tumbler from the Stanley brand, a century-old company with a history of providing sturdy, insulated thermoses commonly carried by everyone’s grandpa. These tumblers are now selling for upwards of $100 and causing riots as shoppers rush to buy the latest color.

If you answered “1,” then bless your heart.

If you answered “2,” you are “in the know.” You may also be very, very confused.


Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a huge proponent of staying well hydrated. Our children say that any complaint or illness was met with “are you dehydrated?” Headache? Digestive issue? Losing a limb? You probably just need to drink more water.

My love of water is deeply ironic since I grew up in a time when no one was carrying — or paying for — bottled water. Children today are advocating to have the “coolest” water bottle at school. Meanwhile, I’m not sure I even drank water until I was 30.

I suppose if you count sugary drinks, I was somewhat hydrated. Technically most of us drank tons of water, albeit flavored with citric acid, food dyes and sugar. In the words of a friend, if it wasn’t for Kool-Aid, we wouldn’t have had any water consumption at all.

When we did drink water, it was from one of two sources. One was from a water fountain at school. We had approximately 37 seconds for upwards of 100 to 300+ students in the hall to grab a drink from a shared spigot.

Our second, and more common source, was the garden variety garden hose. Like many of my generation, I’m a hose water sommelier. I’ve tasted some VERY fine vintages. I was particularly fond of the Kent, Ohio, varieties of the 1980s. In fact, my darling hometown received national attention in 1995 when the city’s water was named “Best Tasting Municipality Water” at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting.

I remember trying to squeeze the hose nozzle with the correct amount of pressure to get water to come out without blasting myself with a face full of 600 psi of water. We let it run for a few seconds first to clear out any bugs and gunk, but after that, it was sweet pure water with a hint of latex and lead. This was good for building up our immune system — or destroying it. Whatever.

Before some young whippersnapper asks why we didn’t just go inside and grab a bottle of water (as if!) or use the sink, let me explain. We didn’t have bottled water. The only water vessel you might have carried was a camouflage canteen that looked like something someone’s uncle brought home from WWII or ‘Nam because you were either a Boy Scout or actively camping.

Sinks were an option, but why waste valuable outdoor time going in for boring house water when delicious hose water was right there? In the halcyon days of free range, and possibly feral, children one did not just go traipsing in and out of the house at will. Why risk going inside and having your mom decide it was time to come inside for good? Or getting drafted for chores since we clearly “didn’t have anything better to do.”

Finally, you might have a dad screaming to hurry up and close the front door because he’s not paying to cool down the whole neighborhood. I didn’t have that issue because my mom was young and single. Also, we didn’t have air conditioning. She wasn’t all that worried about letting the tepid fan air out of the house.

In a nutshell, we stayed outside and drank hose water because there was nothing to do inside. Also, we didn’t have air conditioning, so it got hot and stuffy in the house. Better to be outside in fresh air.

Hose water also tastes better than sink water. There is also a hierarchy of water inside the house. In every house in which I have ever lived, the bathroom sink water is colder and tastier than the kitchen sink water. It’s just one of those facts of life.

Dixie. To be fair, once in a good while someone would have a “fancy” household. There they would have a little “Dixie Cup” dispenser. From this plastic sleeve, a tiny wax-paper-coated cup would slide out. They were roughly the size of a sewing thimble. Please enjoy your two teaspoons of water.

I can assure you that water was never from a $50 cup — and hose water tastes like happiness.


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